Being a business owner is a great job especially if you work remotely or from home. It gives you the freedom to work when and where you want and can offer you that all elusive “balance” you have been looking for…However, it can eat up your life and your time too if you don’t set boundaries and stick to them.
When I first started in business, my phone was by my side and I answered every single message, text, and email as if my life depended on it. I then realised that I was missing out on something… life!
“Whatever you are willing to put up with, is exactly what you will have.”
I started my own business to spend time with this amazing little girl my husband and I created, and to have the life we always wanted… OK, also to work in jeans because I love my jeans! Instead, I found myself saying to that little girl “wait, Mummy’s working, we can’t Mummy needs to work”, and to my Husband “just give me another hour and I will be there…”
This was not the work-life I had imagined. I was stressed, at the constant beck and call of clients and I am sure, very close to a breakdown. I finally realised there was something missing from my working life…Boundaries!
You see, in the corporate world, you go to the office, have office hours, and most often leave work behind at the end of the day. Your clients only call you after hours if it is an emergency because you are not at work, and they most certainly don’t message you via Social Media and expect a reply because that is your personal time and space.
Why just because I am in my own business, is it any different now?
The answer was; because I had let it.
It was time to re-educate myself and my clients…and that is exactly what I did!
- My desk moved out of the lounge room, and I created a space where I can have an office. A personal space for me and a workspace for work.
- I set work hours for me which means work time and not getting distracted by household tasks.
- I stopped answering every message the instant it came in and waited until I was able to answer. This resulted in better responses from me and better service for my clients.
- I instituted Family Time and included a coffee/hot chocolate date with my daughter on Friday afternoons.
- I sent my new and old clients an email clearly establishing the best way for us to work together.
- Most importantly, when I finish for the day I shut the office door and walk away.
Being a business owner does not mean being available 24×7. It means delivering the best outcomes for your clients and for you.
And to do this, you need boundaries. Boundaries take a little work and mindset to enforce and I still let things creep in but I now know that I need to reinforce them when I am feeling overwhelmed.
Boundaries also go both ways friends and family need to know when you are working too. When you worked at a workplace they didn’t drop in for an hour, expect you to watch the kids, etc, and just because you are in business and working from home does not mean in work times you are not working and busy. So remember to share your work days, times, etc with friends and if they do pop in when you are working explain that…don’t flex be kind to you and set the boundary.
By establishing and sharing your boundaries, you will find not only, will your clients respect your boundaries, but they will also value you more and you will have the work environment you were looking for when you went into business.
Good luck! I would love to hear what boundaries you have set for yourself or plan to set.